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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Carlisle firm helps young designers realise their dreams

Textile students have designs on their future after getting hands-on experience with a high-end print company.

Textile students photo
Students Hannah Moss, Leah Knight, Julie North and Emily Bell

The four designers worked with Stead McAlpin at their factory at Cummersdale near Carlisle to see their own patterns worked into fabric printed at the plant.

The final-year students from the University of Cumbria watched as their designs sprang into life at the factory which produces luxury fabric for sale across the globe.

Lecturer Susan Harvey said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity for the students to see their work move through production in a commercial situation.

“This glimpse into the workings of the textile industry will be invaluable to them as they move into their careers.

“The original intention was for Steads to take two students on placement but when they came to view the work they were so impressed with the standard that they decided to take forward four designs into production.

With a heritage dating back to 1835, Stead McAlpin manufacture print textiles for some of the top home furnishings on the market.

Works manager Mark Bradley said: “We were keen to work with the university to encourage new designers, giving them an insight into a working manufacturing unit. We were extremely impressed by the quality of the designs and the originality of the students’ work and were delighted to encourage and develop theirprojects.”

The four students have each spent three days in the studio at Cummersdale, working on the preparation of their design for rotary screen-printing, becoming involved in colour separations, creation of screens and the design’s final production.

The fabrics printed at Stead McAlpin will be part of the display of work from contemporary applied arts students that travels to London at the end of June, to take part in the New Designers Exhibition, the showcase for this year’s graduates from across the country.

One of the students is 21-year-old Hannah Moss. She said: “Just to have that glimpse into the production process was an amazing experience and has reinforced just how much I’d love to be a part of that industry.”

The inspiration for 48-year-old Julie Logan’s design originated in her love of nature and the woodland.

She said: “Working with the team at Stead McAlpin has been an invaluable experience.”

Leah Knight, 23, said: “I have learned what it is like to work with repeat patterns on a large scale, to see the whole development of pattern from paper to fabric.”

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